Saturday, 28 March 2015

Zip around purse in Liberty Lawn - Tutorial

Like most people I rarely use cash these days.  So I needed a purse for credit cards with a small section for a few coins.  It was great fun to make and I used up some scraps.  You could use any fabric for the outer piece, but I would recommend a lightweight lawn for the interior because there are so many folds and layers.


This is not a difficult project, but it is a bit fiddly and there is hand stitching involved.  This is the third purse I have made and they get better each time.  So you might want to make a trial purse using a cheap zip and non favourite fabric before risking some favourite print.

This is my first tutorial and it has not been tested by anyone, so if you are puzzled or I have left something out please leave a comment and I will do my best to help.

I'll be linking up with Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing day.

What you will need:

For the outer piece:
  • Outer fabric 5 x 9 inches. 
  • Heavy duty iron-on interfacing (fusible stabiliser) like Pellon Peltex 4.5 x 8 inches
  • 12 inch zip / zipper.
For the coin section:
  • Two pieces of cotton lawn 11 x 6 inches
  • Lightweight nylon zip - cut down to 3.5 inches
  • Two 1.5 inch squares in lawn for the zip end tabs
For the credit card section:
  • One piece of lawn 4.5 x 32 inches.  This can be pieced if you don't have a bit that's long enough.
  • Strips of the same lawn 1.25 inches wide - 2 x 9 inches and 2 x 5 inches.
  • 4.5 x 8 inch piece of fairly firm iron-on interfacing (fusible stabiliser) such as you might use in a collar, not as thick as the Peltex used for the outer part.
Clover clips, a thimble and a glue pen are also useful.

Outer Piece

Mark a curve on each corner of the Peltex using a large thread reel or similar round object.  Cut off the curves. 

Cut 3 3/4 inches off each side of the Peltex - this will leave a half inch central strip which will allow the outer section to bend.

Fuse the three pieces to the outer fabric as shown in the pic, centring the design on the fabric.

Trim the edges of the fabric if needed.  Fold over the edges and glue down.  You may need to gather up the corners using a running stitch.

Mark each side of the centre of the zip and the centre of each side of the purse.  Open the zip and attach it to the outer purse with clover clips or basting.  The ends of the metal part of the zip should not go below the gap in the Peltex, as they will stop the purse from folding nicely.  In the pic below I have folded the zip webbing in half so I can use the clover clips while I baste with the yellow thread.

Then hand stitch round the zip, going right through the patchwork, the Peltex and the zip as close to the edge of the patchwork as you can.  Use a small half back stitch, which should be almost invisible from the outside on a patterned fabric.  Start in the middle of each side and check regularly to make sure both sides are even.  This is the fiddliest bit.

The image below shows the stitches on the inside, which get covered up when the inner piece goes in.

Bend round the ends of the zip onto the central half inch section of Peltex and glue or baste them down.  

Coin Section

First prepare the zip.  Cut the zip down to 3.5 inches, making sure you don't loose the zip pull. Cover the ends with the zip end tabs.

Now mark the middle of the long side of one of your 11 x 6 pieces and mark the middle of your prepared zipper.  Machine the zip to the fabric, matching your middle marks.

 Press a 1/4 inch seam along the rest of this edge and the other edge.  Fold the side piece lengthwise.  Top stitch the two sides together.  When you meet the zip continue along the same line.

Sew the other piece on to the other side of the zip in the same manner.

Now create the coin enclosure.  Position the two long pieces one on top of the other, with the zip at the top.  Stitch a line in a long curve starting at one end of the zip, down to the other side, and up again to the other side of the zip.  This is shown by the pins in the photo below.

Next make the folds which will form a concertina.  Fold each flap back across the zipped section and then fold back towards the edge to form a 1 1/4 inch fold.  Top stitch the folds.

Now put this piece to one side.

Credit Card Section

Each side of the purse has three credit card slots.  Take your long 4.5 x 32 inch piece of fabric and mark the middle of it - this will be at the bottom of the purse.  Fold the fabric around your credit cards until you get the position of the folds in the right place, remembering that it all has to fit on the piece of interfacing (stabiliser).

Iron the folds in place (removing the cards first!)  Then sew one of your 9 x 2 inch strips up one side to secure the folds.  Test the width by putting back the credit cards and trim the width, then sew the other 9 x 2 inch strip to the other side.

 Finish it off by sewing the remaining strips to either end. 

Now round off the corners of your piece of interfacing using the same round object you used before. It should fit snuggly inside the outer part of the purse, but now is the time to check in case you need to trim it slightly.

Iron the stabiliser to the back of the credit card piece, making sure it is centred.  Then trim the edges and fold the excess over, glueing it in place using a fabric glue pen.

Nearly there now!

Fitting it all together

Now join the two inner pieces.  Fold the credit card section in half and position the coin section inside it using clover clips or pins.

Fold the ends of the fabric flaps around the edge, then trim and glue in place.

Place the inner sections inside the outer section and hand stitch around the edge.  Start in the middle of each side and work your way as far as you can down the edges.  As you get towards the bottom of the purse it will be easier to go through all the layers. You will need a thimble here to push the needle through.

And that's it!


  1. It looks fantastic - thanks for the tutorial! Must make one:-)

  2. This is incredible! I want to make one. Thanks for posting how to do it.

  3. It looks great! Thanks for writing up the the tutorial, the construction of the lining is very clever, the sort of thing that would have taken me a lot of head scratching to figure out! Can i just ask what size are your little Liberty squares? Thanks x

    1. Thanks Sally! They should have been half an inch but they came out a little bit over because I didn't use a quarter inch foot.

  4. So pretty! It looks great.

  5. I'm not sure my skills are up to it ... but I really want to make one! Thank you for the tutorial :)

  6. Well done, that doesn't look easy. Visiting from Fresh Sewing Day.

  7. Oh. How. I. LOVE. This!!! Those little zippers in the round are SO fiddly and you make it look SO easy! I definitely need to make one of these -- because, you know. LIBERTY!!! Beautiful!!!

  8. I realized after I hit send that I should clarify my SO easy comment LOL. It's the clips! I'd never thought to use the clips -- I always struggle with pins and I think the clips would do the trick!

  9. Thank you so much for posting this excellent tutorial, I've been looking for a pattern like this for ages. Following your clear instructions and photographs, I know I'll be able to make it, (or more like a few in different colours to match whichever bag I'm using). :-)
    I also have a piece of soft leather I might attempt to make one with too once I've practiced on a couple first.

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